He was as enthusiastic as ever but especially excited because shortly another part of his dream will come true as Rovers finally get to run their own home. The Keepmoat will be run for the community by Rovers together with help from the stadium partners, Doncaster Rovers Belles, the Dons, and the Athletics club.
John: “These are exciting times ahead as we take control of this magnificent stadium. I remember taking over at the old Belle Vue which was a lovely ground but well past its usuable state. I always dreamt that we would play in a state of the art stadium to match the rest of our rivals, and was so happy when Doncaster Council decided they would build this magnificent community stadium. We now get the chance to run the stadium not merely in the interests of the football club but for the benefit of the community of Doncaster.
“Starting with our official takeover against York next Saturday, we now need you all to get behind the team. We are rebuilding the side and we will, at the start of the season, have a squad that will match others in our division. It’s been hard because the loss of revenue from relegation means that Dean has less to spend on players than last season, but his budget will still be one of the best in the division. We have put together this season the ultimate season ticket package that gives you the fans more for your money than ever before, with great prizes and offers just for you. We have listened to you about ticket purchase and made it simpler and easier to follow. If you can’t afford a full season ticket or cannot make every game why not buy one of our 10 or 5 match multi-tickets which will save you money per game.”
We asked John about the York game. “This game will be the start of a new era and I want every fan here on Saturday to make it a great day as we have lots of events taking place. The fans have asked for the renaming of the Lakeside Bar to the Belle Vue bar, and this will take place officially at 1pm. We have fireworks and kids’ events also, and a generous ticket offer available to those of you who attend - if you save your ticket stub from the York game and the Rovers win, you can exchange it for a voucher giving you a £5 discount towards a season ticket or multi-game ticket.”
One thing that John was unaware of is that by the time this season ends he will be the longest serving chairman Rovers have ever had (Fletcher HIBBERT 1929-40 & 1946-48, 13 seasons / years – was longest serving chairman), and undoubtedly John has been the most successful chairman in the club’s history. John has overseen the rise of Rovers from the ashes of the Richardson era to victory over Leeds United at Wembley and thus securing a place in the Championship. Along the way there was also the glorious JP Trophy victory at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
“It’s news to me that my 15 years in charge makes me the longest serving chairman but it’s been a pleasure to get my team back up there, even if a bit stressful at times. Last year was just a blip so, along with my partners Dick and Terry, we will be aiming to get us back up there. Dick and Terry have been here now five years and have helped me enormously over that time, both financially and with the infrastructure of the club. I now need you all to go out there and help us regain the Championship status which we deserve. Every fan who comes to a game helps the club achieve its goals as an important part of the local community. So please get out and buy those tickets and let’s get back on track this season.”